Even before Darfur begins to witness calm and peace, another potentially deadly crisis has popped up in the Sudan.
In the biggest escalation of tension with al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), the Southern Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM) withdrew from the Government of National Unity. The risk of going back to full scale war – only deadlier this time – looms over Sudan’s head and is very worrying: the country may end up literally being torn into pieces.
Unlike the period before the peace agreement, the SPLM now has many organized and well-trained personnel living in the outskirts of Khartoum and even right within it. Furthermore, the SPLM has allies amongst Darfurian rebels in the west and Nubian rebels far up north.
Some might think this talk of a crisis is alarmist. It’s not. The NCP and SPLM might publicly say they’re not going to return to war, but what they whisper among themselves is different. Both sides are being very cautious towards one another and a real tension exists. Worse still, it’s increasing fast. One bullet shot at the wrong place and wrong time could snowball into something very deadly.
The situation is becoming more complex. Darfur, Nubia, up in the far north and the derailed implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Al-Bashir’s NCP and the Southern SPLM must not be regarded as three separate issues requiring different solutions. The root problems are essentially the same in all cases – lack of wealth and power sharing.
While the Bush administration has committed mistakes and blunders in Iraq, its monumental foreign policy achievement has got to be none other than the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended our bloody two decade-long civil war between the South and North – a war that killed millions.
Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan must not distract the administration from monitoring unfolding events in Sudan. Continuated focus is needed and it is highly important to bring this new crisis under control before the peace collapses.
The possible consequences of a collapse are enormous. The NCP dominated Khartoum government will doubtless fight fiercely for its survival against the SPLM in the south, Darfurians in the west, Nubians far up north and possibly frustrated tribes in the east with whom a wobbly peace deal has been made. For the first time Khartoum itself may very well also become a battleground resembling combat like Baghdad.
Countless people could become refugees. There is a huge risk of violence spilling over into neighboring countries. Last but certainly not least, al-Qaeda elements may take advantage of the situation and begin wreaking serious havoc.
Whatever is left of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be salvaged or else what’s next will very possibly be truly horrendous.
Drima is a freedom-loving, Afro-Arab Sudanese Muslim. When he’s not busy studying or pursuing other endeavors, he makes his own music and blogs at The Sudanese Thinker.